On a recent episode of WWE After The Bell with Corey Graves, guest Apollo Crews talked about his ability to stay strong during his struggles on the WWE main roster.
Crews debuted on Monday Night RAW in 2016, but won his first championship in the company three years later. The 33-year-old wrestler said he looks back on his time in NXT, being there for almost 2 years, and said it’s tough to say if he should have stayed there rather than coming to the main roster. He mentioned that getting the call from Triple H saying he’d be called up to the main roster isn’t something anybody in his position would have turned down.
“My dad always said there’s no substitute for hard work,” Crews said. “I believe that to my core. This is something I’m extremely passionate about and I know in my heart what I’m capable of and what I can do with this platform. The last 5-6 years, when you look back people ask me would I have stayed in NXT and it’s not something that I can be like whatever, no I wouldn’t because I don’t know what would’ve happened if I stayed. Would I have even got the opportunity to even come to the main roster, would I have been fired? I don’t know. It’s not anything that I really want to dwell upon.
“Do I wish I would have done more in NXT? Of course, I would’ve loved to have held the title. A lot of the guys I was with were getting called up, a lot of people I would have loved to have matches with of course. I can’t sit here and dwell on the fact that my time was short there. I had fun while I was there and who’s going to pass up an opportunity when Triple H comes to you and says ‘Hey man, you are debuting on Monday Night RAW tomorrow.’ In reality, if you’re in my position, would you have been like ‘No, I want to stay in NXT.’ Not that there’s anything bad with staying in NXT at all, but here’s this opportunity like this is the dream. It’s what you worked so hard for.”
Crews discussed issues he had after making his main roster debut. He said he was allowing WWE to use him in any way they wanted and found himself constantly being a yes man. Apollo said he’s even guided young wrestlers today to not make the same mistakes he did when he first joined the main roster.
“Of course I got here and I was too humble,” Crews said. “My humbleness worked against me at times. I was too happy and didn’t have the attitude of I belong here, I deserve to be here. I wasn’t relentless as far as my pursuit to be the best superstar I can be. I kind of just took things as they came, I didn’t really challenge anything, at the time it was like whatever you guys need me to do I can do. I think that kind of worked against me.
“I look back and I see other guys coming up and dealing with the same things I did and I tell them, look man, this is the mistake I made. I can’t force you to do it, but I’m telling you do not settle, don’t wait for these opportunities to come you have to be aggressive, you have to ask questions. Instead of looking back, okay I’m not on T.V. today, I’m just going to sit here and be on my phone, let me figure out why I’m not on T.V., what am I doing wrong? It’s not anybody else’s fault, maybe the blame shouldn’t be pointed on other people, what can you do better with yourself to make them have to put you on T.V. or make them have a spot for you regularly on T.V. I see a lot of it now and I’m like guys, I can tell you from experience you don’t want to get caught up doing what I was doing.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.